Hour of the Cat

Hour of the Cat

4.2 4
by Peter Quinn
     
 

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A simple New York City homicide, indistinguishable from hundreds of others in 1938: a spinster nurse is killed in her apartment; a suspect is caught and convicted. Fintan Dunne, the P.I. lured into the case and coerced by conscience into unraveling the complex setup that has put an innocent man on death row, will soon find this to be a murder with tentacles

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Overview

A simple New York City homicide, indistinguishable from hundreds of others in 1938: a spinster nurse is killed in her apartment; a suspect is caught and convicted. Fintan Dunne, the P.I. lured into the case and coerced by conscience into unraveling the complex setup that has put an innocent man on death row, will soon find this to be a murder with tentacles that stretch far beyond the crime scene—to Nazi Germany, in fact. Following it to the end leads him into a murderous conspiracy of a scope that defies imagination. Grim clouds are roiling over Berlin; plans for a coup are forming among a cadre of Wehrmacht officers in Berlin. Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of Military Intelligence, is gripped by paralysis over the choice he must make: join the plotters in treason and violate every value he holds as an officer, or betray them to the Gestapo and forsake the country's last hope to avert utter destruction and centuries of shame. With no limits to Hitler's manic pursuit of territorial expansion, with crimes against his people lauded as a program of racial cleansing at the vanguard of the "scientific" eugenics movement launched in America and Britain, the "hour of the cat" looms when every German must make a choice. When Canaris recieves an order to assist in a sinister covert operation on foreign shores, his hour has come. Writing with masterful command of fact and fiction, Peter Quinn transports readers to a pre-war New York and Berlin brimming with atmosphere and consequence.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Quinn (Banished Children of Eve) illuminates New York City on the eve of WWII in his noir second novel. As Hitler's army encroaches on the Sudetenland and his doctors put the "science" of eugenics into practice, New York private dick Fintan Dunne seeks to exonerate Wilfredo Grillo, a Cuban immigrant accused of murdering a neighbor. As in any good boilerplate detective novel, Dunne's search for the killer takes him from the tenements of Hell's Kitchen to a respected sanatorium in the Bronx and unveils a cabal of conspirators. While Dunne fights late-Tammany era corruption, Quinn indicts America's indifference to the impending war in Europe through the characters of an English traveler writer, Ian Anderson, and a young journalist, John Taylor. On the German front, the chief of military intelligence, Admiral Canaris, tries to balance his reluctance for Germany to be at war again and Hitler's mad vision of "destiny." When Canaris learns of an SS agent operating in New York, he tries to surreptitiously alert Anderson, who once interviewed him. Shuttling between the opposing narratives, which eventually connect, Quinn's novel is as much a rebuke of the systematized violence of war as it is straight-up spy thriller: noir purists will blanche at the work's attempted reach, while fans of historical fiction will champion Quinn's method. Agent, Robin Straus Agency. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Ties forged in the trenches of WWI link a New York private eye with the future head of the CIA, in a well-done 1939-set thriller from Quinn, whose 1994 Banished Children of Eve covered the same city in the Civil War. Fintan Dunne was an up-and-coming homicide detective until his honesty became a problem for the corruption-riddled department. Concentrating on divorce work, he makes do in the late Depression with a cheap office and public transportation until pretty Cuban Elba Corado shows up with a case that puts him back in the murder investigation business. Elba's much older half-brother Walter Grillo has been charged with the grisly slaying of a nurse. While Dunne tries to avoid taking on a case that would throw him into competition with his former colleagues on the force, real-life Admiral Wilhelm Canaris in Berlin, chief of German military intelligence, tries to avoid enlistment in the cause against the Fuhrer he detests. And on Wall Street, Medal of Honor winner William Donovan, who served in the 69th Regiment with Dunne, does uneasy business with creepily ambitious prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey. The three plotlines begin slowly to merge as Dunne takes up the case of Grillo, who's on the short list for execution. The slain nurse worked for a suave doctor whose bodyguard is a thug with ties to the U.S. Nazi movement and its overlords in Berlin. And the doctor, who has his own creepy sanitarium in the Bronx, turns out to be involved in the eugenics movement. The investigation puts Dunne in agreeable contact with a savvy prostitute who buys her dresses at Elba's shop, but it also brings him into painful contact with the worst of his erstwhile colleagues, the creeps who framed Grillo andwho now force Dunne to get help from Donovan. Everything comes to a head in the freak hurricane of 1938. Good thriller. Historic figures seldom ring true in fiction, but Quinn pulls it off.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781585675975
Publisher:
The Overlook Press
Publication date:
05/28/2005
Pages:
448
Product dimensions:
6.32(w) x 9.22(h) x 1.39(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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